A Vision of Fire (Earthend Saga #1) by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin is a tense, intelligent and moving work of science and spiritual fiction that looks to be setting up a series on a massive storytelling scale.
Child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara receives a cryptic call from a friend to visit the daughter of India’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The young girl has begun to have seizures of some sort and the Ambassador, embroiled in tense negotiations with Pakistan, cannot afford the publicity of his daughter’s possible mental and emotional illness. Maanik, the young girl, is having visions and speaking languages she could not possibly know, appears to her parents to be possessed. Caitlin hypnotizes the girl and finds that Maanik is witnessing the end of the world. But is it Maanik or someone else inside of her?
Caitlin studies the visions and in doing so finds that there are multiple instances of teenagers across the globe having these visions. In Iran, a young man sets himself on fire. In Haiti, a young woman nearly drowns in seawater while she is standing on land. All have visions. All speak in foreign tongues that have no way of knowing.
In another part of the world an ancient artifact is unearthed and even animals are beginning to act strangely. A sense of impending doom upon everyone.
Caitlin must strive to unravel the mystery of what Maanik is seeing in her visions before the end of the world becomes a reality with India and Pakistan standing on the cusp of a nuclear war.
Gillian Anderson, yes that Gillian Anderson, Goddess to all fanboys across the world for her rendition of Scully on the X-Files; will be both applauded and skewered for daring to write her own novel. With a co-writer on board of course there will be those that question how much of the tale she actually wrote or is this another instance of using a celebrity name to sell a product. So if you see someone love this book or hate it based on Anderson’s celebrity status then the truth is that they really didn’t try to review it. They reviewed her and their perception of Gillian Anderson.
I fully admit that I love her as an actress and a personality. Full disclosure. But I’m not her to review Gillian Anderson, I’m here to review A Vision of Fire.
A Vision of Fire is an intelligent, ambitious novel of science and faith. Blending both superstition and psychology, it dares use both to bring answers to the mysteries it addresses. Are visions real? Is possession real? Are there powers and unexplained phenomenon in this world that we are unaware of and cannot protect ourselves from?
The book reads like an old HG Wells novel and I mean that in the best way. It explores and tantalizes, yet at times can move slowly. But it has too. Otherwise the reader would lose themselves in everything that is happening around them. The mood is consistently tense and you cannot help but get a little angry at Maanik’s parents who keep her locked away as she seems to slowly go mad. Seeming to value the negative publicity over their daughter’s welfare. The novel does, however, leave so many questions unanswered as it segues into a sequel. You are left with an unfinished story and that is something I found to be a negative.
Overall there is a very good story here and I am looking forward to the second book in the series. The only question is how grand will Anderson and Rovin make the tale, there is so much potential here.